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UPS to trial bikes with e-trailers for central London deliveries (+ video)

Power assisted trailer allows riders to transport up to 200kg

UPS is trialling a new urban delivery system in London and says that if successful, it could change the way packages are delivered in UK cities.

The Low Impact City Logistics project involves a bike and a power-assisted trailer. The firm says that the system allows riders to transport up to 200kg of packages.

The trailer’s electric drive system effectively offsets its own weight to lighten the load on the rider. Robin Haycock, the director of Fernhay, which led development, said: “All drivers, regardless of their fitness level, will be able to make deliveries using our new system.”

The trailer also boasts regenerative braking.

As well as being greener, UPS is hoping that the new approach will also be quicker.

Video: Top Gear's The Stig rides cargo bike in London delivery challenge

The project is a partnership involving five organisations: UPS, Fernhay, Skotkonung, the University of Huddersfield, and Outspoken Delivery. The trial will be run in and around Camden this month and next.

In 2015, researchers at the University of Brussels calculated that 68 per cent of all logistics trips could be carried out by bikes instead of motor vehicles.

Professor Simon Iwnicki from the University of Huddersfield said: “The system used in this trailer allows the rider to carry higher loads over longer distances than would otherwise be possible. It is a project that has the potential to transform the way packages are delivered in urban areas.”

Peter Harris, Director of Sustainability, UPS Europe, commented: “Low Impact City Logistics is a collaborative project that could revolutionise the way we deliver packages in our cities.

“UPS has a long history of developing, deploying and promoting the use of more sustainable technology and delivery methods – and this collaboration will facilitate a one-of-a-kind urban delivery solution.”

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9 comments

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Bob's Bikes | 6 years ago
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I cannot see how this will be faster (unless they use cycle lanes illegally) as the box trailer is too wide to filter in dense traffic!

But I am all for the idea as it means one less lorry on our roads.

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Al__S | 6 years ago
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I don't understand why they're going for the complicated bike+ trailer rather than one of the existing e-trikes with similar payload capacity- Outspoken here in Cambridge have a few Maximus trikes that can go almost anywhere and the newest ones have e-assist.

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P3t3 | 6 years ago
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Not sure what the trailer is for (Royal mail used to deliver with bikes), probably so they can believe they are doing something new...

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Edgeley replied to P3t3 | 6 years ago
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P3t3 wrote:

Not sure what the trailer is for (Royal mail used to deliver with bikes), probably so they can believe they are doing something new...

 

I don't think Royal Mail delivered bulky parcels by bike.  They had a separate parcels division that spewed diesel fumes.

In any case there are many more parcels now than in the past, because of online shopping.    Anything that reduces the number of vans on the road is good, isn't it?  

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cyclisto | 6 years ago
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Not very fond of the idea. This thing is not very good for segregated cycle lanes as it is very bulky and not being very good for standard roads being now too wide to be considered a bike and too slow to be considered a 4wheeled vehicle.

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a1white replied to cyclisto | 6 years ago
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cyclisto wrote:

Not very fond of the idea. This thing is not very good for segregated cycle lanes as it is very bulky and not being very good for standard roads being now too wide to be considered a bike and too slow to be considered a 4wheeled vehicle.

i don’t know, looking at the video, it doesn’t really look much wider than the bike and rider pulling it. If it takes a van off the road, I’m all for it. 

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Jason Kurn replied to cyclisto | 6 years ago
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cyclisto wrote:

Not very fond of the idea. This thing is not very good for segregated cycle lanes as it is very bulky and not being very good for standard roads being now too wide to be considered a bike and too slow to be considered a 4wheeled vehicle.

The trailer is a motorised vehicle, which does not meet the definition of a pedelac, so should not be be driven in cyle landes or tracks. But.... I wonder if the intent of UPS is to test the law? 

It's probably important for relevent groups to keep an watch on how this evovles to make sure we don't end up with large motorised vehicles in cycle lanes, but cosidered legal because they're being 'led' by someone on a bike. 

But, if it's being used on highways meant for motorised vehicles then I think good luck to them.

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Crippledbiker replied to cyclisto | 6 years ago
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cyclisto wrote:

Not very fond of the idea. This thing is not very good for segregated cycle lanes as it is very bulky and not being very good for standard roads being now too wide to be considered a bike and too slow to be considered a 4wheeled vehicle.

Doesn't look any wider than my handcycle, though admittedly I really struggle with some segregated lanes, especially if they have tight turns. The entrance to Howland Street, or the chicane bypass on the A1 coming up to London Wall come up mind as possible issues.

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Redvee | 6 years ago
1 like

If Deliveroo adopt this that'll mean my order can be done in one go rather than the 15 that it usually takes  21

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